Posts Tagged ‘Joe Mauer’

h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry (Hot ‘N’ Cold Fantasy Baseball) All-Stars

Players get hot and cold over a seven-day period, it’s as sure as the samples are small.

That is why Katy created the Hot ‘N’ Cold All-stars.

Cause you’re hot…you’re yes…you’re in…you’re up

James Loney – Loney has been my whipping boy for some time now. I think a no hit/no walk first baseman barely belongs in a beer league softball league and nowhere near a fantasy baseball (or real baseball) team. That said, Loney was successful at striking the ball over the last seven days: 12/22 with a dinger. Loney brought his season HR totals up to six, which is pretty darn impressive…in that it is barely inside the top 200 on the season and behind Erick Aybar, Juan Miranda and his 174 ABs, Scott Hairston, Coco Crisp, Miguel Cairo, Peter Bourjos, Adam Kennedy and almost every MLB regular. If you’re lucky, you’ll get 1-2 more homers from him ROTW. In NL-only, his .270 or so average is worth something – outside of that it’s not worth a cheap dog biscuit.

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h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry (Hot ‘N’ Cold Fantasy Baseball) All-Stars

Players get hot and cold over a seven-day period, it’s as sure as the samples are small.

That is why Katy created the Hot ‘N’ Cold All-stars.

Cause you’re hot…you’re yes…you’re in…you’re up

Kyle Blanks – It seems every Katy Perry All-stars includes a smattering of Padres. Blanks, a one-time love of mine, is now back in Katy’s good graces, following a seven-day stretch which saw him go 10/23 with two bombs. Those were his first two round trippers this year and he had previously been 3/29. So it’s not as if Blanks is suddenly a solid batting average guy. That said, he was torching the minors and should have no problem batting around .250 with some good pop. He’ll definitely be a factor in deep leagues and could even play his way onto 12-team rosters.

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h2h Corner ~ Katy Perry (Hot ‘N’ Cold Fantasy Baseball) All-Stars

I haven’t been writing as much lately. I’m not sure why. It could be that most of my columns require a few weeks of data to really be useful. It could be because I got most of my player profiles done by mid-March so I could be ready for everyone’s drafts. That left me with little to write about. Who knew that anti-procrastination would lead to a general malaise?

I’ve also moved away from covering much fantasy news…as it happens. There are great writers whose job that is and I don’t think I’d add much value.

I also got a puppy and am tired a lot more.

I’m also writing a ton for my day job—an amazing amount of content that leaves me a little drained…creatively.

I’m also struggling with my future in the “business” – not sure I can call it a business if I don’t get paid. But I love the weekly radio show I do. I like the writing when I do it – it’s just gotten harder to get myself started.

What makes it easier? Readers. I get questions all day long on twitter and I love answering them. I get alerts on my phone every time I get a question and I try to answer within minutes. I truly appreciate everyone who thinks my opinion matters and I hope I’ve steered people the right way.

This sounds like an “I’m quitting” letter doesn’t it?

Well, it ain’t. Just an apology for my lack of vigor and vitality. Let’s just say I’ve been a little cold.

Now, I’m ready to get a little hot (and, as I hit that period, Best of You came on).

Players get hot and cold over a seven-day period, it’s as sure as the samples are small.

That is why Katy created the Hot ‘N’ Cold All-stars.

Cause you’re hot…you’re yes…you’re in…you’re up

Johnny Damon – Since Manny exited stage right, Damon has been on fire. Deciding to enter the Hall as a Kansas City Royal has apparently inspired the man to the tune of a .333 average, two HRs, nine RBIs and two SBs over the last seven days. Damon, @JoelHenard’s favorite player, could be a nice option for a little power and a little steals. It looks like the Rays might have to run a lot given Longoria is out and they have no right-handed hitting power in the line-up. Damon has some upside as a 4th/5th outfielder.

Jonathan Herrera – Herrera was a mainstay of my NL-only team last year. Yet, he’s making a play for mixed leagues in 2011? Well his last seven days were the ninth best in fantasy owing to his ridiculous .478 average and four steals. As a 21-year-old, he stole 34 bases in A+ ball in 2006, but his SB number has not reached those heights since. Still, he hit .277 in 960 AAA plate appearances and .280 in 3,139 minor league plate appearances. Could he be Placido Polanco with a few more steals? Absolutely. However, there is a real worry about playing time given the crowded Rockies infield. If someone like Polanco is useful in your league, Herrera makes a decent grab, but I’m not going after him in anything but the deepest mixed leagues – maybe if he was SS eligible (but I don’t see that happening for some reason).

David Freese – I thought he could bring a nice reward for his draft day price tag, and so far, so (sort of) good. Over the last week, Freese went 11/22 with two homers. I’ll stand by my 15-20 HR projection with a .290+ batting average. Not a bad corner.

Wilson Betemit – According to the Elias Sports Bureau (not really), Betemit has now been on the Katy Perry All-stars more times than anyone else. Over the last seven days, he went 10/21 with a homer and a steal. With Aviles and Kila scuffling a tad, Betemit is seeing more and more playing time. I also picked him up as a spot start on Thursday and enjoyed a round tripper. I’m finding it hard to drop him for middle relief help – odd. Could the #8 prospect-rated prospect before the 2002 season be hitting his stride at age 29? Sort of. I wouldn’t be shocked if we saw a .260 average with 15-20 HRs, with some upside. Of course, with Mike Moustakas waiting in the wings, who knows how many ABs Betemit will get. For now, though, he makes a decent bench guy in deeper leagues.

Jeff Baker – I always thought the Cheaper by the Dozen father was weird (I was confused by him trying to shave with both hands)– that said, I’m incredibly anal about maximizing my time…stringing together actions in a coherent fashion. If I need to go to the bathroom, I’ll chug my drink so that I can refill it on the way. Jeff Baker maximizes his at bats. He was 7/16 last week with a home run. Baker, an NL-only delight, won’t get enough playing time really, as he’ll only hit against lefties. But, man, does he hit southpaws: .316/.368/.556. He also qualifies at middle and corner. He should be owned in every NL-only league.

Chris Coghlan – Maybe it’s wishful thinking since I just traded for him (in a move that saw me part with Jose Tabata), but I see a glimmer of hope for Coghlan. Off to a horrendous start, he righted the marlin over the last seven days (9/26 and a homer). Still, it would be nice to see some stolen bases. I’m thinking he can hit in the .280-.295 range with 10 HRs and 15 SBs.

Jamey Carroll – The main beneficiary of Rafael Furcal’s injury were NL-only owners everywhere that had Carroll and his insane position eligibility on their benches. He qualifies everywhere but first and catcher. Stepping in quickly for Furcal, Carroll went 11/28 with two stolen bases. He can be a .300 hitter with a handful of SBs, perhaps a Swiss Army Adam Kennedy? That’ll play a lot of places.

Marlon Byrd – Say whatever you will about the contract, but Byrd is not a bad player. It was pretty clear to most people that his 20 HR bender in 2009 was more the aberration than a trend. So, Byrd is a low double digit masher. Still, he comes with a .280-.300 average and 70-85 runs/RBIs. Over the last week, he hit .400, scored five runs and knocked in three. It isn’t great, but those numbers aren’t sitting out there in many leagues. I like him in most 12-teamers.

Russell Branyan – As someone who talked a lot about Juan Miranda and Brandon Allen, it pains me to put Branyan here. Over the last seven days, he is 6/14 with a HR. He is outhitting Miranda by a large margin and is clearly the better batsman. I imagine the Diamondbacks will realize this and give Branyan more and more at bats. I’d scoop up the power now. I really believe the club should showcase him for a trade, then let Miranda hit, or at least try to later in the season.

Bruce Chen – Seven days, two starts, two wins, no runs, eight Ks and a 0.79 WHIP. That’s hella good. The one-time Oriole ace is not the worst pitcher in the world (of course he is nowhere near the best). In addition, he might never have another week like he did over his last two starts. Still, we could see a low-4.00 ERA and a K/9 above six. I don’t think there is much separating him from Mark Buehrle.

Randy Wolf – Let it be known that, for some reason, maybe because at one point I liked the Phillies, I have always been a Randy Wolf fan/owner. His ability and frustration doesn’t get anymore telling than his last seven-day two-start stretch (12.2 IPs, one win, 15 Ks, a 1.42 ERA and 1.18 WHIP). He didn’t pitch all that good against the Cubs coming off a horrible first start at Cincinnati, but then he owned the Pittsburgh Pirates. I think Wolf is a guy you throw out there for Ks and be somewhat comfortable against poor hitting teams. Maybe a Justin Masterson with little upside? Still, at the end of the day, you’ll get 7-7.5 Ks for every nine innings.

Phil Coke – The new Coke is better than the old Coke? Over the last seven days, Coke threw 13.2 IPs, got a win, struck out nine and had a 0.88 WHIP. Those were his first two starts of the year. He has pitched 16 innings this year, 25% as much as last year (which was the most he ever threw in a season). As a spot starter in a bind, Coke might be your guy, but I wouldn’t come close to relying on him, given his utter lack of a track record as a major league starter. He also doesn’t have quite the pedigree that a CJ Wilson had going into last season.

Phil Humber – Maybe this is my apology to Vladimir Nabokov for not loving Lolita (maybe I didn’t love it because I watched the Kubrick flick first?). Anyway, Humber catches my eye. He had one start over the last week. In it, he went six innings for the victory and got four Ks. He was a first round pick by the Mets and an integral part of the Johan Santana trade. At one time, a top 50 prospect, Humber has never really been healthy and has pitched only 59.1 major league innings. If you’re in a deep league where every starter is owned, Humber is somewhat attractive. The White Sox have done wonders with some way post-hype hurlers, so I’d keep a watchful eye on what Humber does.

Then you’re cold…then you’re no…then you’re out…then you’re down

Neil Walker – As hot as he started, he’s been Mr. Freeze Cold over the last seven days (3/19). Walker was never as good as he was in the first week and is not this bad. In reality, he is actually exactly what his numbers look like at the moment: .271/.330/.480. He could get to 20 HRs, although will more likely settle into the 15-17 range.

Andrew McCutchen – More Pirates and a player I’m relying on in a lot of places. McCutchen has been more Daniel than Andrew this year. He was 2/19 over the last seven days and has only attempted two steals this season. Still, he hasn’t been striking out (just 10% K rate) and has been walking more than normal. He has a horrendous BABip (.200) and a poor line drive rate. Right now, there isn’t any real concern. He should get his OBP back into the .360s which would increase his stolen bases. I’m not worried.

Dan Uggla – Another guy I am relying on who has been terrible. Over the last seven days, Uggla has gone 2/23. On the bright side, half of his hits are homers! While he isn’t striking out as much as normal, he isn’t walking at all. Still, if you thought McCutchen’s BABip was offensive, Uggla’s .128 mark should make you vomit. Sure, his line drives are way down and he is hitting a lot more fly balls without posting his usual HR/FB rate, but it’s early. If he weren’t making contact, I’d be a bit more concerned. It will be important to see if he continues to trade line drives for fly balls though, because that could drain his average.

Pedro Alvarez – I have a feeling young Pedro* will make a lot of Katy Perry All-stars in his career. His last week wasn’t great: 1/16 with eight Ks. On the year his massive K rate (34.8%) is just 0.5% higher than last season. He does have a lower BABip in 2011 (.300) than in 2010 (.341) which is partially driving his sub-Mendoza line average. Still, the swings and misses aren’t to blame. What’s odd is that his line drive percentage is up (of course small sample size) and fly ball percentage down (of course he’s hit an inordinate amount of pop ups). He is also seeing a lot less fast balls (about 12% less) and more sliders, curves and change-ups. Might the league be adjusting to him? Possibly. It could also be a real small sample of a few pitchers with different approaches. I’m not too concerned, he’s still hitting the ball hard, they just aren’t finding holes. I think he’s a rather attractive buy-low

*and what is the deal with the amount of pop culture Pedro references? I mean there is Varsity Blues and an entire electoral campaign. Well, I guess that’s it. But two seems like more than none.

Vernon Wells – I know that some people who write a “Hot ‘n Cold” column don’t believe on giving up on Wells, but I don’t see the point in looking at his past season performances when he is no longer playing in the Roger’s Centre. From last week: “Wells has hit better in Toronto than any other place. He has a .226/.267/.340 line in 173 plate appearances in Angel Stadium. With a lot of outfielders available, Wells just shouldn’t be owned as much as he is.” Over the last seven days, he was just 2/22. I’d much rather have Marlon Byrd.

Chone Figgins – I feel like shouting Figgins!!!! What a confusing fellow he has been. Over the last seven days, he is 4/17 and has battled a thumb problem. On the year, he has one SB and that was in the first game of the season. His walk-rate (which ensures SB opportunities) is just 4.4%. He hasn’t been striking and does have a miserable BABip (.167). While he has been hitting more fly balls (43% this year compared to 34% for his career), his line drive rate hasn’t plummeted. I can’t see anything that points to Figgins continuing last year’s downward trend. I’ll stubbornly support him and give him more than 45 PAs to get his OBP up.

Mike Stanton – Much like Alvarez, Stanton should be a frequent Katy Perry nominee (it’s all the swings and misses which create a fan to blow hair back in photos). He received almost a full compliment of at bats (20) over the last seven says, but collected just four hits. He has just 27 at bats on the season, and, so far, has walked more and struck out less. So, really, there’s nothing to see here. I’m sure we’ll discuss him later.

Carlos Zambrano – It’s not often a two-win pitcher ends up on Katy’s Cold All-stars, but Big Z is one bad mother. Over the last seven days, he pitched 11.2 innings, struck out nine, but posted a messy 6.94 ERA and equally messy 1.71 WHIP. He wasn’t facing the Bronx Bombers either, as Houston and Milwaukee roughed him up. Basically, part of the blame goes to a bullpen that didn’t strand enough of Zambrano’s runners. The other part of the blame goes to a small (sample size) decline in his K-rate. That’s the key to watch. If it stays in the mid-6.00s, it will be time to move.

Ian Kennedy – There is no middle ground with Kennedy. Either he’s the next Whitey Ford or the next Kei Igawa. Eleven innings over the last seven days were vintage Igawa (8.18 ERA and 1.45 WHIP). But he did collect 10 punch-outs and a win. Basically, he just got hammered by the St. Louis Cardinals (nine runs in three innings), who have a few skilled batsmen. I am not at all concerned about him.

Wandy Rodriguez – My favorite pitcher that I’ve never seen pitch. Wandy was semi-atrocious last week: 12 innings, just six strike-outs and a 1.58 WHIP. What’s worse? Batters have a .417 average on balls in play against him and he has a craptastic 60.8% strand rate. He also has posted a 6.19 K/9 rate compared three straight seasons of 8.22+. Not surprisingly, he is giving up more hard hit balls (26% LD rate compared to about 20% for his career) and getting less swinging strikes (6.8% of the time compared to 8.8%+ over the last three seasons). Batters are making better and more contact against Wandy than previously. It’s a little disconcerting, but it’s only 16 innings. If you can use this argument to get him on the cheap, I’d go for it. But be sure to monitor his upcoming starts closely to see if he starts missing more bats.

Ted Lilly – Lilly and Dodger stadium were supposed to be a match made in heaven. Yet, his two starts over the last seven days yielded just 10.1 innings, five Ks and a putrid 5.23/1.55 ERA/WHIP (of course neither of his starts came at home). What’s scary is the bad starts came against offensive dynamos like the Giants and Padres. Lilly is just not missing any bats this year, but batters aren’t crushing his pitches that badly. I expect him to shake off the start and get back on track.

James Shields – People seem to be panicking about Shields for some reason. I guess his last seven days (13 innings, only four Ks and a 1.54 WHIP) were bad, but he’s not exactly Mr. Reliable. Also, I think this is the first time in his career that his ERA is outperforming his FIP and xFIP. Like Lilly and WandyRod, Shields ain’t missing any bats, but, unlike them, batters aren’t making great contact against him (18.8% LD rate). In fact, the only real changes in his batted ball rates are a big increase in his infield fly rates. Shields’ early season ERA can be explained by a low BABIP and high strand rate. If those normalize without increased K totals, he could be in for trouble. He did pitch well in his last start, so we’ll have to see what comes next. It’s always a bumpy road with Shields.

Francisco Liriano – I’d be remiss if Liriano didn’t make the squad. In 14.1 innings of work, he has three loses, a 9.42 ERA and 1.74 WHIP. Some of that can be explained away by some heinous bullpen support (he has a 47.4% strand rate). But he’s also missing a few less bats than he did last year and walking a ton of guys (5.65/9). Batters are making a lot more contact in the zone (64.1% of the time) than they normally do (50.7% for his career). However, they aren’t hitting the ball any harder really. I’m actually not that concerned about Liriano. Give me a few more starts and I think he’ll be fine.

All stats as of noon on April 15, 2011.

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h2h Corner ~ Knowing ADP – How To Win Your League Before It Starts: Joe Mauer

Joe Mauer – Current ADP 19; 1st Catcher – My Rank: 44; #1 Catcher

Clearly, Mauer is the consensus top spot at the catcher position (although I believe Posey is nipping at his heels). However, where that #1 overall catcher should go is a matter of contention as I have Mauer and most catchers well below their ADP.

Mauer tied for 39th in runs scored with 88; tied for 177th in HRs with just nine; 72nd for RBIs with 75; and fourth in average.

He lead catchers in runs by 25, was tied for 14th in HRs, had the third most RBIs and the best batting average.

Mauer was far and away the most consistent performer at catcher. However, in 50 fewer at bats, Mike Napoli scored just 28 fewer runs and had seven less RBIs – yet he out-homered Mauer by 15. Sure his batting average is light years away from Mauer, but he is getting picked a full 100 slots later. Would you rather have Joe Mauer and Bobby Abreu or Napoli and Matt Holliday?

I’ll take the second pairing all the way to the bank. I’m also a tad concerned about Mauer’s durability. Over the last three years, he has appeared in 140 games on average (a ton for a catcher).

Lastly, I think 2009 was more the outlier of his career than 2010. In 2009, his BABip was .373 (the year before: .342, 2010: .348). In 2009 his HR/FB rate was a ridiculous 20.4%, the year before: 6.5%, the year after: 6.7%.

Quite simply, Mauer is not a .360 hitter with 20 HRs. He is a .330-.340 hitter with 10 – 15 HRs – and that might be generous. Furthermore, it’s incredibly unlikely that he’ll be more than an 85 run scored or producer given he’ll play at least 20 games less than regulars.

While catcher is scarce, you can pair guys like Napoli with proven top 25 hitters and not miss a beat. Only once has Mauer been worth his price tag and all evidence points to that being an incredible aberration.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

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Maximizing every drop of value in every pick is hugely important. Taking a player in the fifth round that you could just as easily have taken in the sixth round is a major mistake. To avoid this, you need to know all about Average Draft Position (ADP).

While no two drafts are identical, knowing where a player typically goes gives you a general idea of where he will go in your draft. That said, be sure to do homework on your league mates subjective tendencies. For example, if there are Red Sox fans, be sure to snag guys like Lester and Youkilis a bit earlier than you normally would. In addition, you should talk up your sleepers before the draft (discretely of course) to see if anyone is on to them. If you don’t, an opponent with an itchy trigger finger who hasn’t done his ADP homework might snag one of your sleepers a round before anyone else is typically taking him.

Now that you know WHY ADP is important, I want to show you HOW to exploit it by highlighting those players who are going too low compared to players with similar ADPs. You can grab an ADP report at Mock Draft Central.

Feel free to share your insights below or at my Twitter (@h2h_corner).

h2h Corner ~ Putting the All-star Game in the Rear View Mirror

I don’t know what happened to the All-star game.

I remember it as the crowning jewel of the summer of my youth. I actually embraced the “This Time it Counts” PR ploy. Hey, it’s a little less random than simply switching home field between leagues every year. In an ideal world, Major Legaue Baseball would let the best interleague record to determine World Series home field advantage, but at least we aren’t just switching off.

However, this year, they took the mantra too far. Middle relievers, typically, have very little place in an All-star game. Some of them are having fine, even very good seasons, but give me some starters. You know what happens when you shorten the word ‘starters’, you see the word ‘stars’. Stephen Strasburg is a star, Mat Latos is a star, and Jered Weaver might be a star. You know who will never be a star? Evan Meek, Matt Thornton, Arthur Rhodes, Omar Infante, etc.

So how do you “fix” the All-star game? I don’t think you have to do much besides apply a little common sense. Really, this is probably a one year aberration of the players and managers making horrible choices. At least a Yankees starter got the loss, so when they are forced to play game seven at the Colorado Rockies, they’ll have no one to blame but their manager and Phil Hughes.

Switching gears to Fantasy Baseball…

You know what the ASB means to fantasy teams. It is time to take stock on where you are in the standings and what you need to do to get to the top.

Here are some guys who, while they underperformed, should help you in the second half:

  1. Aramis Ramirez
  2. Joe Mauer
  3. Ian Kinsler
  4. Ichiro
  5. Jimmy Rollins
  6. Mark Reynolds (if you aren’t worried about batting average)
  7. Aaron Hill
  8. Nelson Cruz
  9. Chris Ianetta
  10. Chone Figgins
  11. Carlos Lee
  12. Zack Greinke (unless you need wins)
  13. Wandy Rodriguez (why not roll the dice?)
  14. Cole Hamels
  15. Scott Baker
  16. Chad Billingsley (if you need Ks)
  17. James Shields
  18. Gavin Floyd

Here are some guys who you might want to sell at their apex:

  1. Josh Hamilton
  2. Torii Hunter
  3. Corey Hart
  4. Adrian Beltre
  5. Dan Uggla
  6. Scott Rolen
  7. Ubaldo Jimenez
  8. Cliff Lee
  9. David Price
  10. Andy Pettitte
  11. Jeff Niemann
  12. Jaime Garcia
  13. Phil Hughes

Here are some guys owned in less than 50% of Yahoo! Leagues who could be the difference in the second half (in ranked order):

Pitchers:

  1. Jason Hammel
  2. Kris Medlen
  3. John Axford
  4. Madison Bumgarner
  5. Travis Wood
  6. Tom Gorzelanny
  7. Alfredo Simon
  8. Bronson Arroyo
  9. Vicente Padilla
  10. Jonathon Niese
  11. JJ Putz
  12. Scott Downs
  13. Barry Enright
  14. Bruce Chen
  15. Vin Mazzaro

Hitters:

  1. Adam LaRoche
  2. Gaby Sanchez
  3. Russell Branyan
  4. Andres Torres
  5. Drew Stubbs
  6. Mike Cameron
  7. Ike Davis
  8. Juan Pierre
  9. Coco Crisp
  10. Fred Lewis
  11. Angel Pagan
  12. Dexter Fowler
  13. Matt LaPorta
  14. Cody Ross
  15. Cliff Pennington
  16. Lastings Milledge
  17. Julio Borbon
  18. Julio Lugo
  19. Jonathan Herrera
  20. Clint Barmes
  21. Travis Ishikawa
  22. Seth Smith
  23. Michael Saunders

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h2h Corner ~ 2010 Catcher Rankings

Catchers are just so blech. Unless you are trotting Joe Mauer out there, they can be the millstone around a fantasy team’s neck. They get injured, they miss games; in deep leagues, you typically just want someone who doesn’t kill your batting average. That said, thanks for stopping by to check out my catcher evaluation. For full rankings, check here. Continue reading